The main beach at Apollo Bay faces east and is completely exposed to the wind waves and rough seas brought by easterly and south-easterly winds. The waves erode the beach and dunes up to and sometimes above the high water mark and the wind moves huge amounts of sand. Once the wind gets above around 25 knots the bay becomes a potentially dangerous place for swimmers, entirely unattractive to surfers and a magnet for kite surfers who revel in the 25-30 knot winds.
In strong easterly conditions there is a lot of water moving around creating rips and side sweeps and general movement of water in often unpredictable directions. An ocean swimmer could stay afloat and swim in these conditions but would most likely encounter currents quite different to those normally experienced in the bay which could make it very difficult or impossible to return to shore before becoming exhausted or hypothermic.
So far this week at Apollo Bay the wind has been blowing non-stop day and night from the east at 25-30 knots, gusting higher at times. Monday had some sunny breaks, but on Tuesday we only saw cloud and cold winds. The forecast is for the winds to moderate and stay from the east or south-east until at least the end of the week.
Any water person in the area shown the photos below without being told anything about when they were taken could immediately identify the conditions as easterly. They are very distinctive compared to the conditions when the wind is from anywhere between the NW around through W to S.
I live in Apollo Bay and start most days with an ocean swim. I don’t swim in the open bay in strong easterly conditions, but fortunately the local harbour provides protected waters which are an ideal plan B. These photos capture something of the easterly sea conditions, as well as the contrasting harbour waters in which I have continued my daily swims during the otherwise unswimmable easterly conditions so far this week.
First day of easterlies
Day two of the easterlies
Harbour swim on day three of the easterlies
The easterly by day three had eased a little and was closer to 20 than 30 knots. The open seas were still white and rough. The inviting glassy clear water inside the harbour was the spot to swim today. Eight of us swam in the harbour this morning instead of the usual locations of Apollo Bay (and sometimes Marengo). Of course, warming up over coffee and a chat followed.
5 thoughts on “Wild Easterly Seas at Apollo Bay”
Love the stories about the “easterlies” what wild and woolly weather you had. Hardly knew it was windy here in North Fitzroy except for a the few dead branches that blew off our trees, saved Tom having to prune!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for your comments Sue. Pleased to hear the winds in Melbourne saved Tom some pruning.
Great seeing the photos and read your stories on the easterlies. As we’ve experienced, when the Easterlies are blowing hard it’s more enjoyable experiencing from the shore with plan B being a swim in harbour. Looking forward to visiting again. Cheers
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the encouraging feedback on the photos and captions Mike. I’m guessing that after all those months of house arrest in Melbourne you’d be pleased to have an ocean swim at AB even in strong easterly conditions! I hope you and Nadine can get down here in November for a decent stay, and hopefully a long ocean swim in clear green water with a light offshore wind and glassy swell rolling in at dawn.